Spotted SeaTrout Statewide Regulations Update

Spotted SeatroutAt its December meeting in Panama City Beach, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved rule changes for spotted seatrout. Changes will go into effect Feb. 1, 2020. These changes DO NOT replace the SW Florida red-tide-related closures listed below.

Monroe County Florida Keys will follow the South Florida guidelines.

Size limit statewide starting Feb. 1, 2020: More than 15″ and less than 19″ total length (may possess one over 19 inches per vessel included in bag limit)

Regional daily bag limits and seasons starting Feb. 1, 2020: South: 3 per harvester, open year-round. Zero captain and crew bag limit when on a for-hire trip.

Allowable Gear: Hook and line; cast net

NEWS RELEASE

SW FLORIDA

Spotted seatrout is catch-and-release only in state or federal waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line south to Gordon Pass in Collier County through May 31, 2020.

SW Florida Catch-and-Release Measures

Spotted seatrout is catch-and-release only in state and federal waters from the Hernando/Pasco county line south to Gordon Pass in Collier County through May 31, 2020.

This is a proactive change to conserve spotted seatrout impacted by the prolonged red tide in southwest Florida. While these species need additional time to recover, the red tide that was impacting southwest Florida has subsided.

These catch-and-release measures remain in effect through May 31, 2020, and are not replaced by the statewide regulations changes that go into effect Feb. 1, 2020.

Regulations starting Feb. 1, 2020

Spotted Seatrout Management Zones

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Management Zones starting Feb. 1, 2020

Regulations extend into federal waters.

  • Western Panhandle: Escambia County through the portions of Gulf County west of longitude 85 degrees, 13.76 minutes but NOT including Indian Pass/Indian Lagoon.
  • Big Bend: Remaining portion of Gulf County plus Indian Lagoon, and Franklin County through Fred Howard Park Causeway in Pinellas County near the Pasco County line.
  • South: Fred Howard Park Causeway in Pinellas County near the Pasco County line through Broward County.
  • Central East: Palm Beach through Volusia counties.
  • Northeast: Flagler through Nassau counties.

Size limit statewide starting Feb. 1, 2020:

More than 15″ and less than 19″ total length (may possess one over 19 inches per vessel included in bag limit)

Regional daily bag limits and seasons starting Feb. 1, 2020:

  • Western Panhandle: 3 per harvester, closed February
  • Big Bend: 5 per harvester, open year-round
  • South: 3 per harvester, open year-round
  • Central East: 2 per harvester, closed Nov. 1-Dec. 31 (starting in 2020)
  • Northeast: 5 per harvester, open year-round

Zero captain and crew bag limit when on a for-hire trip (starting Feb. 1, 2020)

NOTE: These changes, effective Feb. 1, 2020, DO NOT replace the current catch-and-release measures for SW Florida. Seatrout remain catch-and-release in SW Florida through May 31, 2020.

Allowable Gear: Hook and line; cast net

Source: Spotted Seatrout | Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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